2018 wasn’t all bad.
For most people, that’s a given. I’m not most people. I live in an echo chamber that amplifies all of the worst things happening and broadcasts them on a constant stream. The Internet is a lot, folks. 2018 was a rough year for me. It seemed to be a year in which failure climbed atop failure in a shit heap of failures, odious and all-consuming. I weathered some of the worst depression I have thus far. 2018 has been a year in which I’ve put out a ton of energy and gotten little but exhaustion back. It’s sucked. It’s also, as the trope has gone, felt like a decade crammed into 365 days.
Not everything was an implosion. Of course I’m trending towards the dramatic, a) because it’s more interesting and b) it’s what I’ve learned from my online peers. 2018 had its good points too. There were a bunch of moments that made me truly happy. Since I’m trying to put myself into a positive mood for tonight’s celebrations, I might as well look back at them. Bullet (point) Time:
- Austin. Going to Austin this year was one of the best holidays I’ve taken in my life. I’ve talked at length about it, so why not talk more? I went with a couple, two good friends. We found a wavelength and rode it all the way. We spent the whole time having great conversations and amassing a ton of running jokes. There was an abundance of tasty things to eat and drink. Booze was incredibly cheap, being the US, so we took advantage. We saw sights, met locals and I got to get up early to write every day. I also, with the help of a friend, was encouraged to give stand up another try and it made my holiday. I returned from the trip glowing, filled with a new sense of purpose and perspective that 2018 quickly crushed to dust.
- Baby’s First Burn. Don’t worry, they’re not all gonna be holidays. Aside from Austin, the other big trip I took was considerably closer to home. I went to Hyperborea, a regional Burn and my first ever. When I say “Burn”, it’s basically Burning Man on a small scale. Going to Hyperborea meant spending a critical mass of time with close friends. I deepened pre-existing connections and met a ton of new people. Campers were so generous with time and resources. Disengaging from a workplace schedule meant everyone was more present than they would be in the city. I got to throw flame tipped darts at kerosene filled balloons, participate in a live dating show, try infused spirits from an apothecary and dance my ever lovin’ footsies off. I felt able to be so authentically me, and left the camp with a new sense of purpose that 2018 once again obliterated.
- Asking For Help. I hate asking for help. Always have, hopefully won’t always. This year though, I had no choice. I could either reach out or wither completely. I managed to find my way into OHIP sponsored therapy, which is unbelievably lucky. I laid things out honestly for my boss and told her my needs. I wanted to be able to disappear for therapy when I needed and work from home if I was having a rough day. She was on board, providing my work wouldn’t suffer. I’ve been there for long enough that I could probably do the work in my sleep, so that has yet to be an issue. It helped. Taking ownership of what I was going through and finding resources to mediate my experiences was a big fucking deal. I’m still here, and that counts for a bunch.
- Magic Arena: Wizards’ latest foray into the digital world was a colossal success. I’m not sure how many hundreds of hours I’ve logged on this game, but I know I’ve spent a grand total of $5USD. I’ve entirely stopped buying physical cards and I’m likely saving a bunch accordingly. For the first time in my life, it’s let me draft consistently. Also, for the first time in years, I may actually be spending more time playing Magic than reading about it. Will the wonders never cease?
- Five Years Writing. I hit my five year mark at this here project. While in abstract the five year milestone told me I could actually commit to something and see it through, it was a little more than that on an emotional level. I hosted an intimate night with friends where we did readings of our favourite entries. Yes, it was the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever done, but it was also hugely affirming. People reading stuff I’d written and long forgotten felt great. Hearing my words through the mouths of friends made me realise that I’ve actually done some pretty great stuff here. Sure, I might phone it in 99% of the time, but I haven’t called it quits. Every now and again I bang something out and feel great about it, which means there’s still a point to this whole arrangement. Regardless of what happened in 2018, this was an accomplishment.
I’d say that 2019 is going to be my year, but I feel like I say that every year and it rarely is. So here’s to low expectations.